The time is ripe for fall gardening

Thanks to the cool wet weather, my spring crop of sugar snap peas did exceptionally well. But now it’s time to think about planting for fall.

sugar-snap-peas-blogIt’s hard to believe that we’re at the halfway point for summer. For hardy gardeners, it’s time to think about planting for the fall vegetable garden.

Cool season vegetables, like peas, spinach and lettuce, typically take around 60 days from planting to harvest. Planting now means these vegetables will be ready in September.

Even if you’re starting to burn out from gardening, it’s worth a little extra effort to extend the gardening season. You’ll be so glad you did.

First, check the back of seed packets for the number of days to harvest. Second, find the first fall frost date for your area. Use this information as a guide only. An earlier frost is always possible.

Cool season vegetables include fruiting, leafy and root vegetables. You can plant traditional cool season veggies, like lettuce, carrots, and cabbage, but why not try something different this season?

Here are 4 special veggies to add to your garden:

Arugula, also known as rocket, is a leafy green known to have been grown in the Mediterranean since Roman times. Arugula has a rich, strong peppery taste and can be used raw in salads, blended into a pesto or steamed for a side dish.

Bok choy has been cultivated in China for over 6000 years. Bok choy is recognized by its white stalks and dark green, crinkly leaves. The leaves are often used in soups and stir fry meals; the delicately-flavored stems can be eaten raw like celery.

Kale is a leafy green, but it doesn’t form a head. Harvested when the leaves are young and tender, kale is good in salads, soups and stir-fry dishes. Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables, but it is so high in vitamin K it can reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs, like warfarin.

Turnips are one of the world’s oldest known vegetables. Small turnips are the tastiest and can be eaten raw with a dip, roasted with onions and garlic or cubed and quickly microwaved. Turnip greens are so delicious, some cultivars are grown just for their tops.

What kinds of fall vegetable planting tips do you have? Please post a comment here.


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Jody, thanks for the great resources you have provided for us to get our garden going in Lakewood. Your support and article following last night’s hail was especially helpful. I immediately went out, got rid of the leaves and clipped back the veggies. Some green exists on some squash and tomatoes; the herbs look bad but perhaps there is hope. I will definitely look into the fall vegetables you suggest. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

Hi Pamela: I’m glad to hear you’ve already been working on cleaning up the garden. I definitely think there’s hope for some of your plants and I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll rebound. It’s nature’s way to help guarantee their survival.

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